Posts Tagged ‘special event insurance’

Ensuring Security at Special Events

Tips for planning and executing event security

The security staff you see at sporting events, festivals, concerts and other special events didn’t just show up 30 minutes before the gates opened. The event hosts did a lot of planning long before the event to ensure the safety and security of the participants and guests. If you’re organization is planning a special event that requires security, here are some tips when hiring a security firm that can help make your special event run as smoothly as possible.

You get what you pay for

Your budget is obviously an important component in planning your event. However, different types of events require different levels of training and skills from the security team. Some security firms specialize in high-end security that includes highly trained, retired law enforcement and/or military personnel. Other companies may hire individuals with little training but who may appear threatening due to their size  (think nightclub bouncer). And there’s everything in between.

Sporting events can give rise to heated confrontations among spectators, sometimes resulting in physical fights. Alcoholic beverages being served can also give rise to rowdy behavior. In such cases, you want individuals trained to diffuse the situation and maintain peace, not escalate things. It’s also important that your security staff know when it’s time to call in local law enforcement before things get out of control.

It’s critical that no matter what level of security firm you hire that it be licensed, bonded and insured. In the event of a security incident, you want to transfer the risk of damage or injury to the security firm. If you don’t, your organization and anyone involved in the planning can be held liable if allegations are made of inadequate security or personal injury by one of the security staff.

It’s all in the planning

You can’t expect your security team to arrive at the event 30 minutes before your event begins and get a brief rundown of what’s expected of them. Security for any size event takes pre-planning, typically months or even a year in advance.

At your first planning meeting, the security company should review with you details about who will be attending (i.e. participant and spectator demographics), hours of operation and expected busiest times, alcohol permits, vendors, parking arrangements and much more. These details determine the number of security staff required for the job and strategic placement of staff throughout the event  

Special Events InsuranceIt’s important that your security firm is familiar with your local law enforcement agency, your venue, and the surrounding area of your event. It’s important to note that you may, depending on the type of event, be required to submit a security plan to your town or city in order to obtain a permit. Festivals/concerts in public parks and road races are examples of events that may require permits. Large events like these often need traffic control. Your security team may need to meet in advance with law enforcement to go over how public parking and traffic flow will be handled during the event.

Outdoor events always need a contingency plan in case of bad weather. Your Plan B should be discussed in detail with the security firm long before it goes into action.

Don’t forget to inform the security firm of any specific concerns you may have during the planning meeting. These could be issues such as terrorism, gang activity, or heated competitions between rival sports teams.

Financial planning

This isn’t about your budget, but about keeping your funds secure. If you’re charging an entry fee or selling food, beverages and souvenirs, that money is at risk for being stolen. At your planning meeting ask if security staff can periodically collect funds from concessions or gatekeepers for safekeeping in a designated area under lock and key. Sadly, the chances of a guest stealing the money are much lower than those of your own staff and volunteers pocketing easily accessible cash.

Dealing with accidents and questions

Injuries and illness can occur anywhere to anyone. Sporting events in particular are high risk for injuries. Some security firms supply EMTs so be sure to ask. Location of the medical tent and plans for ambulance access should be discussed at your planning meeting as well.

It’s a good idea to set up a guest services area and have event staff and volunteers all wearing matching shirts, preferably with “Event Staff” printed on the back. Your security team should be aware ahead of the event of who is on staff and where guests can be pointed to in order to get assistance.

After the crowd goes home

It’s recommended, and usually welcomed by your security firm, that you have a post-event meeting to review what worked well and what didn’t, and discuss any problems that may have occurred that nobody thought about in advance. Your security company wants your business and you don’t want to have to shop around for another company for your next event. A review of this type goes a long way in building a strong working relationship.


Source: Jeff Croissette. “Effective Planning for Event Security.” www.sportsdestinations.com. 26 Sept. 2016.

New Technology Enhances Event Security

Game Changers

We all know about game changers. Sometimes it’s a certain player, a momentum swing, the venue or fans, and other times it’s an event that makes us stop and rethink our views on one particular topic or another. The bombings at this year’s Boston Marathon qualify as a game changer.

It’s often a catastrophe that makes us re-evaluate our priorities. In the case of the Boston Bombings, we have been forced to address our personal safety and the safety of participants at sporting events.

Increasing event security

In attempts to strengthen event security at its football games, the NFL recently banned spectators from bringing in purses, coolers, backpacks and other miscellany. Some view this as overkill, while others view it as the natural evolution in the continual ramp up of security measures in a volatile setting.

The tech revolution

The technology boom is also helping to strengthen event security. While closed-circuit television is still the industry’s main method, it is the use of cellphones that has been most beneficial in enforcing safety regulations at sporting events, and not just among event staff. Many venues advertise a number for spectators to text or call if other patrons become unruly or are acting suspicious. And did you know there are apps available for reporting security issues? Fans may now anonymously submit complaints/observations using ISS 24/7 (or other) software. Game changer!

In addition to security hotlines, social media has helped to police patrons at sporting events. People love Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Many sports teams and event management companies have learned to use these tools to their advantage. They post on their accounts to spread the word of inclement weather, evacuation notices and other pertinent information.

Smartphones are good for more than just checking your Twitter feed. They are also important in documenting fan behavior at games, both good and bad.  In a world where anyone can be famous on the Internet, staying on your best behavior can mean the difference between YouTube fame and infamy.

Source: Kelly Martin,  “Safety and Security: Changing your game for the better,” Sports Destination Management. Sept./Oct. 2013.

Aftermath of the Boston Attack

Looking at the impact on Sports Event Insurance

The Boston Marathon terrorist attack has sent shock waves through the sports event insurance industry, creating uncertainty about whether certain event coverages will be offered and at what limits. At a minimum, terrorism premiums for high-risk events are expected to skyrocket.

After the 9/11 terrorist attack, underwriters responded with enhanced risk management for arenas and stadiums. However, closed venues are much easier to secure than open events such as a marathon that has a 26.2 mile course.

The 9/11 attacks also resulted in private insurance carriers excluding terrorism coverage under General Liability policies, which was picked up by the federal government for a buyback of less than 5% of private insurance premiums in most cases. After 9/11, the terrorism coverage buyback was typically only purchased by larger event promoters in major population centers. However, the Boston attack has given rise to speculation that the terrorism buyback will become much more expensive and many smaller event promoters outside of the major population centers will be interested in its purchase.

The next question is what type of liability event promoters and organizers have in the first place to prevent terrorist attacks. At first glance, event security against terrorist attacks would primarily be a matter for law enforcement. However, event promoters and organizers can have liability for not implementing risk management controls and coordinating with law enforcement. The industry will undoubtedly respond with enhanced risk management requirements based on the lessons learned from the Boston attack.

Source:  “Boston Attack Leads Sports-Event Insurers To Reassess Business,” bloomberg.com. Aaron Kuriloff and Mason Levinson.  April 17, 2013.